6.5/10
357
30 user 5 critic

Toward the Unknown (1956)

Approved | | Drama, History, Romance | October 1956 (USA)
At the dawn of supersonic flight in the 1950s a group of Edwards Air Force Base experimental aircraft test pilots push themselves to the limit.

Director:

Writer:

Reviews

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | War | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The lives, loves, and battles of fictional characters in the Army's First Ranger Battalion during WWII.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: James Garner, Etchika Choureau, Jack Warden
Certificate: Passed Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

In Medicine Bend, a crooked businessman has the town mayor and sheriff in his pocket while his henchmen raid the wagon trains passing through the region.

Director: Richard L. Bare
Stars: Randolph Scott, James Craig, Angie Dickinson
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

In the Pacific during WWII, a Roman Catholic widow falls for a tough lieutenant colonel.

Director: George Seaton
Stars: William Holden, Deborah Kerr, Thelma Ritter
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

College students Andy Shaeffer and Susan Daniels are pinned. While Susan works hard to put herself through college, Andy sponges off his parents, his mother, Madeline Shaeffer, who in ... See full summary »

Director: David Butler
Stars: Tab Hunter, Natalie Wood, Jessie Royce Landis
The Dark Past (1948)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An escaped psychopathic killer who takes the family and neighbors of police psychologist hostage reveals a recurring nightmare to the doctor.

Director: Rudolph Maté
Stars: William Holden, Nina Foch, Lee J. Cobb
Cash McCall (1960)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Cash McCall is a young and slick business man who buys failing businesses and resells them. Grant Austen's Plastics is even more of a prize to Cash, for Cash is also making a bid for ... See full summary »

Director: Joseph Pevney
Stars: James Garner, Natalie Wood, Nina Foch
Up Periscope (1959)
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In 1942, Navy Lieutenant Kenneth Braden from the underwater demolition team is sent to a Japanese island to photograph secret radio codes.

Director: Gordon Douglas
Stars: James Garner, Edmond O'Brien, Andra Martin
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Jerry McKibbon is a tough, no nonsense reporter, mentoring special prosecutor John Conroy in routing out corrupt officials in the city, which may even include Conroy's own police detective father as a suspect.

Director: William Dieterle
Stars: William Holden, Edmond O'Brien, Alexis Smith
Rage at Dawn (1955)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A special agent from Chicago is sent out west to bring in the notorious Reno brothers.

Director: Tim Whelan
Stars: Randolph Scott, Forrest Tucker, Mala Powers
The Lion (1962)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Young Tina lives with her mother and stepfather on a wildlife reserve in Kenya. While her stepfather believes this is a wonderful environment for her to grow up in, her mother becomes ... See full summary »

Director: Jack Cardiff
Stars: William Holden, Trevor Howard, Capucine
The 7th Dawn (1964)
Adventure | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Political and personal intrigues surround a group of characters in Malaya, after the close of the Second World War.

Director: Lewis Gilbert
Stars: William Holden, Susannah York, Capucine
Boots Malone (1952)
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Boots Malone is jockey's agent and a bit of a wheeler-dealer who went from living at the Ritz to living in a room at the stables when his star jockey was killed in an accident. After nearly... See full summary »

Director: William Dieterle
Stars: William Holden, Stanley Clements, Basil Ruysdael
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Maj. Lincoln Bond
...
Brig. Gen. Bill Banner
Virginia Leith ...
Connie Mitchell
...
Col. 'Mickey' McKee
...
Maj. Bromo Lee
...
Lt. Gen. Bryan Shelby
...
Lt. Col. Joe Craven
...
2nd Lt. Sweeney
...
Polly Craven
Bartlett Robinson ...
Senator Black
...
Hank - Bell Technical Rep.
...
Harvey Gilbert
Maura Murphy ...
Sarah McKee
Carol Kelly ...
Debbie
Edit

Storyline

USAF Major Lincoln Bond is captured, tortured and released from a POW camp in Korea. After the war he returns to the US where he is re-assigned as a test pilot at the Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base. The Air Force is testing the new experimental aircraft Gilbert XF-120 fighter. The acceptance of the new aircraft by the Air Force is dependent on successful tests designed to prove the aircraft's reliability and safety. However, when Major Bond flies the prototype he encounters a problem that points out a dangerous structural flaw. This could threaten the aircraft's acceptance by the Air Force and derail the whole project. Major Bond's commanding officer and some of his colleagues start to suspect that Major Bond is imagining things because of his mental condition dating back to his imprisonment and torture in the Korean POW camp. Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

HURTLING ACROSS THE HEAVENS AT 95,000 FEET! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

October 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Einst kommt die Stunde  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Lloyd Nolan's character is based on Gen. Al Boyd, an AFFTC Commander who was instrumental in the testing and developing of numerous new aircraft at Edwards during the 1940s and '50s. See more »

Goofs

Early in the film when Bond observes General Banner crash his aircraft, it's referred to as an "F-102". In reality the hulk that Banner is pulled from is a Convair XF-92, the experimental predecessor to the F-102 Delta Dagger. See more »

Quotes

Brig. Gen. Bill Banner: [to Maj. Lincoln Bond] Even with torture, you're not the kind to crack.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Story of Esther Costello (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

The U.S. Air Force
by Robert Crawford
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Excellent Period Piece
22 March 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film has excellent performances by Holden and some of the other actors, but the real stars are the extraordinary research airplanes of the Air Force Flight Test Center in 1955-56, when the film was made. There is superb inflight footage of the Martin XB-51 (which is painted up as the "F-120" fighter), and outstanding footage of the Bell X-2 rocket research airplane, as well as footage of the rare TF-86 (only two were made), a two-seat version of the famed F-86 Sabre jet fighter. For "real" the X-2 in 1956 reached an altitude of 126,200 feet flown by Captain Iven "Kinch" Kincheloe, and Mach 3.2 (2,196 mph) by Captain Milburn "Mel" Apt. Both were advisers on the film. Apt died in the crash of the X-2 on 27 Sept. 1956, the same flight on which he reached M = 3.2, Kincheloe was selected as lead AF pilot on the hypersonic X-15 program, but was killed in 1958 in the crash of a Lockheed F-104. Incidentally, Holden was flown in a high-performance airplane for familiarization purposes at Edwards for the film...not sure if it was a Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star trainer (most likely), though there is a curious photo I have seen of him in front of the TF-86, suggesting that, possibly, he was one of the (very) few non-Sabre pilots to have flown this machine...and if he did, it is possible as well that he flew faster than Mach 1, the speed of sound, as the TF-86 could clearly do so. A great film, not to be missed.


17 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
WB Archives DVD MAJOR Disappointment gemaisack
Nicest, most understanding general ever parillamilt
I was a kid at Edwards hankpac
MS. LEITH....... BG43214
Just released on DVD-R TODAY!! OH JOY!! u31510
Favorite scene arbitrarydissent
Discuss Toward the Unknown (1956) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?